Predictions for the Consumer Internet in 2021

December 22, 2020

Casey Newton from The Verge asked on Twitter for predictions on what was going to happen in the social networks and the consumer internet in 2021 and published an article with the best responses.  Here is the highlight reel with some of our own insights sprinkled in:

  • Social networks go crazy for commerce.
    Facebook’s addition of a shopping tab on Instagram and WhatsApp shopping carts are examples of this.  One user also predicted the recreation of a QVC on mobile.
  • Silicon Valley accelerates its investment in products and services for individual creators.
    Substack, Cameo and OnlyFans are some new platforms allowing creators to monetize directly with their audience.  This trend is expected to continue with more platforms emerging.  A user thought that Charli D’Amelio, the TikTok teen sensation could make Instagram relevant again as its Head of Product.   
  • Remote work reshapes the industry.
    Lots of new business emerging as tech giants tell workers they can work from home until the summer, possibly permanently.  And of course, more people and more time spent in Austin and Miami instead of San Francisco and New York.
  • The internet has a reckoning over porn. 
    Expect more fights over content moderation after MasterCard and Visa suspended payment processing on PornHub for posting illegal videos.
  • Dating apps have a big moment.
    All that needs to be said here is Covid-19 isolation and cabin fever will boost/are boosting all of the dating apps.  Lots of pent up energy out there.
  • Audio apps take their turn in the spotlight.
    Right now, it’s all about Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, but users expect that to change in 2021.
  • Public social networks continue to fragment. 
    Think more platforms like Parler, and more dissection along the lines of left and right-wing politics.
  • The United States will need a strategy for the regulation of Chinese apps. 
    Alex Stamos, ex-Facebook chief security officer said: “There will be another breakout consumer app from a Chinese-aligned multinational and the Biden administration will have to assemble a cohesive strategy out of the wreckage of the Trump-TikTok phony war.”
  • The internet saves movie theaters. 
    One user predicted the fate of movie theaters as becoming a perk for subscribers of a streaming service like Netflix or Disney+.  Another user said, which is not so likely in our opinion, that movie theaters stay independent by becoming virtual or satellite conference centers.

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